A MAJOR PLAYER
I find it odd that Lane County residents are required to support a lobbying group with their tax dollars (News Briefs, 3/5). I have looked into this group, the Association of O&C Counties (AOCC), and found that it is NOT a public body and not bound by laws for public meetings or public disclosure. It doesn’t even have a website accessible by the public.
AOCC was one of the parties that brought suit against the Northwest Forest Plan, and it introduced legislation in 2006 to sell off half of the O&C lands to private interests, which fortunately failed. It is considered a stakeholder in Oregon timber policy and consulted by BLM and the state on timber legislation. It is a major player for various O&C counties in determining how Secure Rural Schools funds are utilized.
In spite of AOCC’s effort to renew SRS funding, this was in fact accomplished by Sen. Ron Wyden, not AOCC. And the O&C Counties already belong to the Association of Oregon Counties, a public body that divulges its proceedings and promotes the interests of Oregon’s counties and regional blocks.
Lane County has the option of withdrawing from AOCC, as did Benton County over 10 years ago. Conservation Leaders Network, headed by a former Curry County supervisor, can supply information and many good reasons why Lane County should follow
Not only do we pay dues to AOCC, but we pay for the time of our commissioners who attend its meetings and take trips to Salem and D.C. to lobby for special interests. Not to mention that AOCC uses its moneys at will to commission studies and make donations. It donated $500 to the Temperate Forest Foundation in ’06 and made at least one grant to a private school, among other expenditures. Why?
I personally object to my tax dollars being spent on a lobbying group. If this is accepted policy, I ask Lane County to also fund groups that represent conservation and recreation uses of our forestland, as well as groups endorsing fair taxation on Oregon’s timber industry.
Mora Dewey, Cottage Grove
WHAT ABOUT RYE?
Michael E. Hoekstra’s dismay (letters, 3/5) at finding no paczek on Fat Tuesday in Eugene merits his alarm. But more to the point, what about our daily bread? Has anyone ever eaten a good Polish rye bread in Eugene? I have, but I brought it in my luggage when flying back from my longtime home on Chicago’s Northwest side. For that matter, has anyone ever found a good rye bread of any kind in this town? Not to mention Polish sausage or pierogies. And don’t get me started on Greek food!
Chuck Kleinhans, Eugene
ANY MUQUAM WILL DO
Yahshi mu siz? I am a simple Uighur tribesman drawn to Eugene’s supposedly progressive culture. As everyone knows, after a hard day we like to relax with a simple meal of sweetened congealed goat’s blood. But after a few hours searching two of Eugene’s “alternative” markets, I had to wonder how open-minded they really were when I couldn’t find fresh, only canned.
Later, I went to Market of Choice and simply asked that they change their music to that of my culture. This proud Uighur-American wasn’t picky; any muquam would do, but they refused to honor my request.
Will I ever live in a community where people think of others first?
Kashgan aka Bruce Stern , Eugene
Regarding Michael Hoekstra’s letter (3/5): I read the letter twice searching for signs of sarcasm or wit, but I am convinced you intended neither.
In a town where men wear dresses, pot smoking is all but ignored, transvestites get their own bathrooms, witches and warlocks are welcome and we have schools where 10-year-old children dictate the curriculum, you managed to find one mother-f&%@*%! bakery that didn’t serve a particular dish from your country, and now you are “outraged … grossly ignored … underrepresented,” and doubting just how progressive we really are?
I am going to guess that you are the same kind of guy who wants to get the 19-year-old kid at McDonald’s fired for forgetting to put napkins in the bag. Why don’t you get a life or bake your own food and quit sniveling?
Brian Palmer, Eugene
Sue Barnhart’s letter (2/26) challenges taxpayers to think about how their tax dollars are spent. That thinking should include looking at wars where those tax dollars bring pain and death to non-belligerents. If we realize that we add our tax dollars to the $500,000 our nation spends per minute on the Iraq War (American Friends Service Committee), then we have to consider our role in destruction and carnage.
Refusing to pay a poll tax to protest the Mexican War, Thoreau maintained that, “If a thousand men [and women] were not to pay their tax-bills this year, that would not be a bloody and violent measure, as it would be to pay them, and enable the State to commit violence and shed innocent blood.”
If you are troubled by paying taxes during wartime, you can join discussion from 5 to 7 pm on the third Mondays of the month at the New Day Bakery. At that time you can learn about the 2009 War Tax Boycott, or you can go to www.wartaxboycott.org
Erik Muller, Eugene
GOLDEN GARDEN PARK
I am one of the fathers who lost our dear first son Nicholas Davis and our dear nephew Britton Shephard Davis out in West Eugene’s Golden Garden Park back on June 19, 2005, due to a drowning accident.
You published a very important and accurate article (1/12/06) about this place by Ben Meyers that I just found on the Internet and would like to thank you very much for bringing it to the attention of the citizens. If I would have known of all the drownings that had occurred in this place since 1972, like I know now, I can assure you Nick and Britton would be here today.
I think it is only right that the citizens of this community know exactly what has transpired in this place over the past three decades, and what’s going to happen there for the next three as well. I just recently found out that due to the much appreciated efforts from the city of Eugene and many, many citizens of Bethel, first phase improvements at Golden Garden Park that the voters of Eugene passed in 2006 are about to be completed. It just so happens they are having their Golden Garden Park open house June 25, exactly four years to the day the Davis family buried our two boys.
I’m not sure yet if I will be attending, but I do hope it is a very rewarding experience for all who were involved and supported the Davis family with all of our efforts of making Golden Garden Park a safer place for all of Eugene — in honor of all the precious lives that were lost and the people who made the improvements happen.
Kim Davis, Eugene
HOW ABOUT KRVM?
The cover story March 12, “Launch Pad: Eugene’s potent music scene,” mentions that KWVA and KLCC support local musicians. This of course is a good thing, but nothing was ever mentioned about KRVM 91.9 FM which is a Eugene local public radio station that has been here for over 60 years. The oldest FM station in the Northwest. KRVM has supported local musicians for many years.
Matter of fact, it was the first in Eugene to do so. My show of almost 20 years features many local musicians, as well as many other shows on KRVM.
I just want to give credit where credit is due! It just didn’t seem right to mention the other two stations without giving KRVM the recognition!
Rock-N-Rome (Hamel) of KRVM, Eugene
NO ECONOMIC CRISIS
My definition of crisis is: The river is rising, the valley is flooding — everybody start filling sand bags. In a crisis everybody knows what is going on and pitches in to help.
We have no economic crisis. We have an economic problem. And we elect leaders to deal with problems. I believe if you look at our leaders’ actions they will tell you this is not a crisis. The Republicans are dragging their feet and playing politics as usual.
Peter DeFazio states, ”wait a week or two.” (R-G 2/14). This is not someone in crisis mode.
In dealing with this economic problem might I suggest looking at new revenue sources. I would suggest to our elected leaders in Salem and Washington to look at legalizing marijuana and taxing non-profits such as churches.
The fact that our elected leaders are not looking at these two new revenue sources confirms my belief that there is no economic crisis.
Chris Pender, Eugene
PROTECT OUR INVESTMENT
We now have another multi-billion dollar stimulus package. It appears that little of it goes to help cut the cost of health care in Lane County. In the July 24, 2008 issue of EW it was stated that Blue Cross announced a 26 percent rate hike. In addition it was cited that expensive hospital projects are a prime driver in rapidly increasing health costs.
Can we afford the new hospital at RiverBend? The cost estimate in 2005 was $350 million. The actual 2008 cost was $567 million. Adding to this bill could be the “tear down” of the Hilyard Street Sacred Heart building from 432 beds to 104 beds. This needed approval, by the state, to “restrain health care costs.” The approved cost, in 2006 was $23.7 million. Now the estimated cost is $97.7 million.
This is a “nonprofit” hospital that has not paid property tax for more than 50 years. It also was built with the aid of federal funding. The people own a part of it. Our elected representatives needs to step forward and protect our investment. We could use some of the stimulus money and make this a much needed combination downtown community-owned and Veterans Hospital.
Ron Davis, Cottage Grove
ODE TO BOO
Are you curled cozily on a softer seat/allowed, at last, all the popcorn you can eat?
Before you took that long last sleep/did you have, Frost-like, promises to keep?
We can’t help wondering: what are the odds/that the hand reaching down to you will be God’s
(since off you’ve gone to heavenly spheres)/when you need one more scratch between your ears?
JeanMarie Purcell, Eugene
The past two months have brought us depressing news about the collapsing global economy, the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan, and the devastating impacts of climate change.
March is the bearer of good news about the advent of spring, blooming flowers, and the Great American Meatout (HYPERLINK “http://www.meatout.org”www.meatout.org). Now in its 25th year, Meatout has grown into the world’s largest annual grassroots diet education campaign. It provides each of us with a superb excuse to kick the meat habit and get a fresh start with a wholesome, nonviolent diet of vegetables, fruits, and grains. The date is March 20, first day of spring, symbolic of renewal and rebirth.
The Meatout diet is touted by major health advocacy organizations and leading health authorities. It’s made so easy now by the rich selection of delicious meat and dairy alternatives in our local supermarkets. It’s supported by free information from www.tryveg.org, and www.chooseveg.org.
Elijah Hennison, Eugene
REVOKE NAFTA NOW
At the Jan. 24 presentation “Illegal People: How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants,” writer and photojournalist David Bacon explored an informative, comprehensive look at connections between trade agreements and immigration.
However, I thought his answer of what should be demanded of elected officials lacking. He said citizens should make concrete demands rather than just “immigrant rights now,” suggesting issuing green cards, reuniting families, etc.
Revoke NAFTA now! is the one solution myself and multitudes in the three countries (U.S., Canada, Mexico) affected by the North American Free Trade Agreement agree on. No trying to fix or reform it. Fifteen years have proven disastrous for everyone but the ruling elites.
May 1st, when folks are marching for a humane policy toward immigrants, there will be a backlash, especially with Oregon’s finances and employment rates. While some of the counter-protesters’ concerns are racist, xenophobic worries about the intrusion of Latin culture into “America,” many realize what the implications of NAFTA have been and are in agreement about its demise.
In the presidential election, respected candidates Republican Ron Paul, Libertarian Bob Barr, Green Cynthia McKinney and Democrat Dennis Kucinich called for an end to NAFTA .
The Zapatistas had it right!
Scott Fife, Eugene
JUST SAY YES
The Republican Party keeps saying no to Obama so much, they have become the no nothing, no nuts, party. They say no to embryonic stem cell research because we must protect the sacred sanctity of life before it is born. But once that embryo grows up, the sacred sanctity of that life is thrown out the door if it becomes a brown skin man or teenager on a battlefield. Then the Republicans say no to what Jesus would do and yes to what Jack Bauer would do, even if torture has never worked to get reliable information. Mrs. Nancy Reagan was famous for saying no, but even she has said yes to embryonic stem cell research. The Republican party leaders would be wise to follow the advice of one of their most revered elders. Just say yes, sometimes. It won’t kill you. It might even save your party’s life.
Michael T. Hinojosa, Drain